Tag Archives: North American lakes

On a Golden Ribbon from Shore to Shore: Lake Andes Wildlife Refuge

The beauty of burnished fall fields in South Dakota.

They don’t have the impact of the Grand Canyon, but South Dakota fields have a subtle beauty–especially in the fall.

When I took off from Lincoln this time, I decided to go north through South Dakota and North Dakota. Part of my goal was to visit a place I’d never been before: North Dakota. However, I also wanted to see more prairie. I love the prairie. It’s a subtle beauty, and I had studied Great Plains geography, history, music, and literature in college. I wanted to see where Per Hansa and his wife played out their pioneering lives in Giants in the Earth. I felt as though I could understand and appreciate it, even if most of the people I told about my destination thought it would be boring.

Golden South Dakota flora along the highway to Pierre.

The golds and browns of South Dakota in the fall have a calm, coming-home quality.

I wasn’t disappointed. As I traveled up through South Dakota’s capitol, Pierre, and then to North Dakota’s capitol, Bismarck, I saw beautiful autumn-golden fields—both pasture and crops. The colors were muted, because it was late in the fall. Bright yellow leaves still clung to the branches on the sparse trees, but instead of presenting as a mass of gold, they looked like lace, almost like mist surrounding the dark branches. Many of the trees had more leaves on the bottom than the top, which made the misty “leaf ring” around the trunk look like a netted tutu, with multiple graceful branches rising up from the skirt into the sky.

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Todd the Tour Guide: Our Leader on Minnewanka Lake

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I don’t know what Minnewanka means yet. I’m sitting, as we speak, on a tourist barge in Banff National Park (Alberta). About to go out boating on a 14-km-long lake named Minnewanka. Anyone who has been here will probably tell you the most striking things about this place are the incandescent blue-green water and the pastry-like mountains, with layers of rock that make them look like cakes of baklava…huge baklava. Dessert to salve the spirits of the mountain giants.

Our tour guide is Todd, and the skipper is amazingly just 20 years old…Pierre. He says he has been working here all his life. I’m sitting in the second tier of seats, up toward the back where I can hear the growl of the engine as we pull away from the dock and out into the peaking little waves. Continue reading

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